The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: The Evidence

  evidence-based reports | authored and compiled by
constantine kaniklidis
scholars for peace in the middle east (spme) | director, progressive voices for peace in the middle east (pvpme)


Russell Tribunal on palestine (RToP)


The Juridical Farce of The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) 
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP)1, founded in March 2009, is conveing again (fourth session: Oct 6-7, 2012, at Cooper Union, NYC) to indict Israel, although it is not appointed by any international body with legal authority and has absolutely no legal standing, with:

(1) ‘jury’,  including such ‘experts’ as Alice Walker17 and the notorious anti-Israel demonizer John Dugard, who hyperbolically and without evidence under international law likened Israel to apartheid South Africa2,
(2) ‘patrons’ such as British actresses Julie Christie and Juliet Stevenson, anti-Israel bigot and Holocaust denier Norman Finkelstein, and anti-Israel extremists Noam Chomsky and Noami Klein, filmmakers Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Costa Gavras, and Harold Pinter; fashion designer Agnes B, and  demonstrably biased anti-Israel ‘experts’ (!) in international law and foreign affairs)3, and
(3) ‘witnesses’ like Huwaida Arraf, Shawan Jabarin, and Johan Galtung (see commentary below),

all selected and renowned for being virulently anti-Israel, to further the Tribunal’s aim of the delegitimization of Israel. (The Tribunal even appears to have ‘spectral’ support from beyond the grave, in the form of Harold Pinter and Howard Zinn (and others), all well deceased).

One example of dozens possible:
'Juror' and former Congresswoman Cynthia Mckinny, a self -avowed "Truther"16 who claims President Bush had advanced knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, and who blames "the Israel Lobby" for her electoral loss, campaigned with the virulent Black hate and separatist group,  The New Black Panther Party9,10 - it is classified as a hate group by U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, with no connection to the original Black Panthers - the group during the campaign shamelessly spewing both anti-white racist and antisemitic epithets11.

Sample 'witnesses':
(1) Huwaida Arraf, a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM)18,19,20, a militant pro-Hamas anti-Israel organization calling  for Jihad and celebrating  suicide bombers as martyrs. 
(2) Shawan Jabarin at the
Cape Town RToP,  head of Al-Haq and a convicted senior activist13 - and banned from travel by both Jordan and Israel due to his terrorist associations - of  the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist group (and member  of BNC, the BDS National Committee coordinating BDS  activity throughout the world12).
(3) Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist often dubbed "the father of peace studies," but who casually repeats classic antisemitic slanders such as that  Jews control world media (“Six Jewish companies control 96% of the media"),  that "seventy percent of the professors at the 20 most important American universities are Jewish", and recommends reading "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".21,22  

The Russell Tribunal has been strongly denounced from both within and without: so for example, by Richard Goldstone himself, who said:
It is not a ‘tribunal.’ The ‘evidence’ is going to be one-sided and the members of the ‘jury’ are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known. In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute"4.
and has been further denounced and reviled also by South African journalists and activists Benjamin Pogrund5 and Maurice Ostroff6, and the noted political commentator and analyst Robin Shepherd23, currently Director of International Affairs at the Henry Jackson Society (and even by Richard Falk, himself a current RToP patron, who called the original Russell Tribunal a “juridicial farce7).

Furthermore, the Russell Tribunal candidly admits that it is a kangaroo court, acknowledging that its conclusions are pre-determined before any hearing or examination of evidence:
The Tribunal takes it as an established fact that some aspects of Israel’s behaviour have already been characterised as violations of international law by a number of international bodies, including the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the International Court of Justice (ICJ)14
and with the London and Barcelona sessions “asking’ the questions
“(1) Which Israeli violations of international law are corporations complicit in? (2) What are the legal consequences of the activities of corporations that aid and abet Israeli violations? (3) What are the remedies available and what are the obligations of states in relation to corporate complicity?”8,15
manifestly with violations of international law being a given, not an at-issue triable issue of fact for determination by juridical inquiry, making the Tribunal highly worthy of the contempt of any fair-minded critic who values equity and objectivity, and the moral avoidance of intellectual dishonesty and virulent prejudice, in any critical examination of the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

With 'Jurors', 'witnesses', 'patrons' and others all viciously prejudiced by rabid anti-Israel biases and hatred and all having made manifest their predetermined conclusions of Israel's guilt, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine stands as a repugnant exercise in preconceived and malignant injustice. 

References

1.  The Russell Tribunal on Palestine. At: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/.
2.  The Jury. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine. At: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/about-rtop/jury.
3.  Patrons and the Support Committee. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine. At: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/about-rtop/patrons
4.  Goldstone, Richard. Israel and the Apartheid Slander. New York Times. 31 October 2011. At: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/opinion/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander.html.
5.  Pogrund, Benjamin. Lies told about Israel are beyond belief. Times Live, South Africa. 30 October 2011. At: http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2011/10/30/lies-told-about-israel-are-beyond-belief.
6.  Ostroff, Maurice. An open letter to the chairman of the Russell Tribunal. Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict. 3 November 2011. At: http://maurice-ostroff.tripod.com/id362.html.
7.  Russell Tribunal on Palestine. NGO Monitor. 3 October 2012. At: International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights. Secondary citation: Klinghoffer, Arthur Jay & Klinghoffer, Judith Apter. International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights. Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. P. 134.
8.  Introduction: objectives and functionning of the RToP. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine. AT: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/sessions/south-africa/south-africa-session-%E2%80%94-full-findings/cape-town-session-summary-of-findings.
9.   New Black Panther Party  Report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  At: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/new-black-panther-party.
10.  Separatist black group stands by bounty offer for man who killed Florida teen.  CNN.  26 March, 2010. At: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/26/justice/florida-teen-shooting-bounty/index.html.
11.  ADL Condemns Racist, Anti-Semitic Tirades At Rep. Cynthia Mckinney's Concession Speech.  Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  Press Release. 9 August, 2006. At: http://www.adl.org/PresRele/ASUS_12/4869_12.htm.   
12.  Kaniklidis, Constantine.  Evidence-based Report: Palestinian Civil Society Call: The Myth.  The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: The Evidence.  At: http://contrabds-callmyth.evidencewatch.com/.  Also at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/BNC 
(Note: PFLP is a member  of the coaltion Palestinian National and Islamic Forces (aka, the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine).
13.  Polllak, Noah.  B’Tselem to Share Award with Terrorist.  Commentary. 28 November, 2011.  At: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/11/28/btselem-award-al-haq/
14.  Introduction: objectives and  functionning of the RToP.  Russell Tribunal on Palestine.  At: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/sessions/south-africa/south-africa-session-—-full-findings/cape-town-session-summary-of-findings
15.  London session. Russell Tribunal on Palestine.  20-22 November 2010.  At: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/sessions/london-session
16.  911 Truth Statement. Signatories. 911Truth.org.  At: http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20041026093059633.     
17.  Alice Walker:  “I think Israel is the greatest terrorist in that part of the world. And I think in general, the United States and Israel are great terrorist organizations themselves.” Zeliger, Robert. Interview: Alice Walker. Foreign Policy. 23 June, 2011.   
18.  Backgrounder: International Solidarity Movement.  Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  At: http://www.adl.org/main_Anti_Israel/international_solidarity_movement.htm?Multi_page_sections=sHeading_1
19.  International Solidarity Network (ISM). Discover the Networks.  At:  http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6233.
20.  The International Solidarity Movement and its friends.  American Thinker.  4 September, 2012. At: http://www.americanthinker.com/2005/10/the_international_solidarity_m.html
21.  Returning Fascism from Europe's Left.  World Affairs.  At: http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/alan-johnson/returning-fascism-europes-left.
22.  Om klare linjer og tvisyn - Et svar til John Færseth.  English: About clarity and ambivalence - A response to John Faerseth.  Humanist - Tidsskrift for livssynsdebatt [Humanist - Journal of Ethical Debate].  At: http://humanist.no/galtung.html [in Norwegian]. At: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=no&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fhumanist.no%2Fgaltung.html&act=url [English translation].  
23.  Shepherd, R.  The Russell Tribunal on Palestine dishonours victims of apartheid.  Mail& Guardian.  South Africa.  4 November 2004.  At: http://mg.co.za/article/2011-11-04-the-russell-tribunal-on-palestine-dishonours-victims-of-apartheid./



evidence-based reports: our reporting


Imperative in this context is a new equity in geopolitics that eschews disproportionate approbation of one actor to the exclusion of all others while also acknowledging the competitive narratives of national ambition and identity in the Middle East, with the need for new engagement and negotiation. 

This misplaced and uncritical reliance on ideological and prejudicial sources has evolved to be a formidable obstacle to peace in the Middle East. It has led to what others have termed a new “soft powerlessness” for Israel whose legitimacy has been successively eroded and who stands accused and convicted in the international arena. And it helps account for the current moribund state of peace negotiation. We therefore realized that what is needed to overcome these barriers to peace is effective confrontation through the exposure and refutation of lawfare as practiced by anti-peace NGOs and obstructionist initiatives like BDS. This will in turn require a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land, in order to achieve a fair and durable peace in the Middle East for Israel, and for the Palestinians.

To that end, I as Director of Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME) and a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), have authored and compiled a series of evidence-based reports (EBRs) on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict which are founded on an objective critical systemic review of the core issues and a critical appraisal of the relevant arguments, sustained by scrupulous attention to and respect for principles of international and human rights law.  This demands (1) systematic review of all credible sources on an issue, (2) critical appraisal of all sources extracted for factual basis, (3) cross-confirmation of accuracy wherever viable, and (4) use of the highest caliber of sources available, with preference to peer-reviewed literature.

These evidence-based reports hone to the principles of the evidence-based paradigm and methodology as it has evolved from initial domain of application (medicine) into a broad spectrum of evidence-based practice and research
, in the form of evidence-based sociology, evidence-based education and evidence-based teaching, evidence-based psychology, evidence-based crime policy / policing, evidence-based  decision making /policy, evidence-based social work, among many others. We  also commit to industry-standards promulgated by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in their SPJ Code of Ethics, the guidelines for online  journalism issued by Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism in their What are the ethics of online journalism?, and the elements of PIRC (Public-Interest Responsible Communication), especially the Verification Of The Reliability Of Sources, the Independent Verification of Factual Assertions, the Transparency with Sources, and Assessing Objectivity. (For a good summary, see Elements of "Responsible" Journalism of the Canadian Journalism Project, a project of The Canadian Journalism Foundation in collaboration with leading Canadian journalism schools and organizations). 




progressive voices for peace (PVPME)

Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME), a Brooklyn based initiative, grew out of the recognition that these next-generation obstacles to peace require effective confrontation through counter-lawfare initiatives and the need for a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land.

Director, Constantine Kaniklidis



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Constantine Kaniklidis | Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East | © 2016.  All rights reserved.